Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Malaysia



Total SGBV assessments conducted for POCs from January to July 2017.


Psychosocial, health, legal, safety and security, and livelihoods interventions were provided to survivors of SGBV from January to July 2017.


Persons of Concern benefitted from SGBV outreach and sensitization training in 2016 to strengthen SGBV prevention and response within the community.


External partners and community based organizations/groups cooperate with UNHCR on strengthening community based protection and SGBV prevention and response.

SGBV Strategy

Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) denies the human dignity of the individual and harms human development. SGBV is largely rooted in individual attitudes that condone violence within the family, the community and the State. As UNHCR, we are mandated to provide international protection to refugees. UNHCR, together with States, share the responsibility for ensuring refugees are protected against sexual and gender-based violence. UNHCR is committed to ending all forms of SGBV by working to prevent SGBV before it happens and responding to the needs of all survivors, who can be women and girls, as well as men and boys. 

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Goal 16; 16.2 states, “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children”, and Goal 5 “eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation”. UNHCR’s Action against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (Global Strategy) seeks to enhance the quality of protection delivery by promoting the following often overlooked areas and including them, as appropriate, in a comprehensive strategy:

  • Protecting children of concern against SGBV;
  • Addressing survival sex as a coping mechanism in situations of displacement;
  • Engaging men and boys;
  • Protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons of concern against SGBV;
  • Protecting persons of concern with disabilities against SGBV.

In line with the UNHCR Malaysia’s five-year strategy to build a resilient refugee community, the SGBV Unit’s five year strategy (2016-2020) aims to address and prevent SGBV, namely through:

Partnership with stakeholders to mobilize resources on SGBV prevention and response activities including enabling access and strengthening quality of services provided through joint coordination, assessment, programs and advocacy.

Mainstreaming SGBV into all sectors including health, education, livelihoods, legal to community groups, non-governmental organizations and government agencies through strategic outreach activities. 

Capacity building of community-based structures to enable and sustain community referral mechanism to address prevention and response mechanisms to address SGBV.

Main challenges for SGBV response in Malaysia

  • Limited implementation of CRC, CEDAW and other legal instruments relevant to protection of survivors of SGBV;
  • Limited access to state services and systems;
  • Traditional harmful practices within the refugee community;
  • Low SGBV awareness among refugees, especially on prevention, identification and response;
  • Limited relevant stakeholders and available resources.

Activities of the SGBV unit in 2017

  • Case management | With UNHCR and ICMC’s current partnership on case management, UNHCR will enhance the coverage of the relevant SOP via community roll-out and capacity building. Together with ICMC, UNHCR will carry out interviews, home visits, shelter placements and monitoring for a total of 500 SGBV survivors.
  • Community-based protection | As SGBV continues to be especially prevalent in the Rohingya community, the Safe from the Start project in 2017 will be training 30 community influencers on SGBV prevention and response, and establish a transitional home to provide safe shelter for survivors of violence during emergency situations. In efforts to prevent and respond to child marriage in the Rohingya refugee community, PS the Children in partnership with UNHCR will be aiming to sensitize 21 Rohingya refugee leaders comprising of men, women and religious leaders in Ampang and Gombak.
  • SGBV working group | Through SGBV Working Group meetings, UNHCR and relevant stakeholders meet regularly to mobilize resources and discuss activities, challenges and opportunities to strengthen quality of services and interagency coordination.
  • Gender-based Violence Information Management Systems (GBVIMS) | UNHCR will coordinate the implementation of the GBVIMS to enable effective and safe collection, storage, analysis and sharing of SGBV-related data among partners carrying out case management activities.
  • Advocacy | Increased engagement with local partners and authorities to enable survivors’ access to state services and systems.